When most people hear the phrase “estate planning” they immediately think of a will. This is a good thing, because wills are absolutely vital to the estate planning process. Without one, a person would die “intestate” which essentially means that their estate defaults to basic rules and laws of administration. Dying intestate means that your family and loved ones may not get what they thought they were going to get from your estate, or they may not get what you intended.

That said, today we want to talk about updating your will frequently throughout your life. Having a will is just the first step. You can’t just sit on your will and expect it to reflect your wishes later in life.

There are many different events that could transpire over the course of your life that should make you revisit the will and update it. For example, did you get married or have a divorce? In either scenario, you should update your beneficiaries.

What about having children, or maybe some of your children or grandchildren turned 18 years old? Again, having your will reflect these new milestones in your life is critical.

Other circumstances such as the degradation of a relationship with one of your beneficiaries, the death of a beneficiary, the passage of time itself, a change in state laws, or a significant change in the value of your estate (either increasing or decreasing) should warrant a review of your will.

Source: FindLaw, “Checklist: Reasons to Update Your Will & Estate Planning Documents,” Accessed Jan. 26, 2018